It was Friday after Fajr, and for the first time in a long time, I had managed to save myself from sleeping after Fajr. I felt refreshed and had finished the most important ibadah just before the sun rose.
Then it was a Saturday after Fajr, when I started feeling exhausted, the day immediately after my beautiful Friday morning that I slipped. I slept through the morning and woke up later than I had set with a heavy sense of guilt in my chest. But I managed to pull through regardless.
Then it was Sunday when everything felt like I was not going to make it. The day went by quickly.
It was Monday morning, when I started feeling mentally ill that I started having ruminations not knowing what triggered me.
“What happened?” I asked myself. Maybe it’s just one of those days.
Maybe there are those are reading this who have experienced a similar feeling this Ramadhan.
I must admit, there are some days when I feel like I wouldn’t be able to get off from bed just because I’m overwhelmed. The fear of burnout. The fear of not being able to give my best… all of these negative thoughts would come rushing to me to remind me of the feelings of losing myself or going back to my worst self.
But I am reminded that Allah loves repentance. He loves those who would go back to Him, sincerely in their brokenness, right after His slaves would sin—no matter the magnitude of the sin.
It could be that our brokenness acted as a tool to bring us back to the true form of humility.
I must admit, the start of my Ramadhan was not ideal. I must admit throughout my first week of Ramadhan… it was not perfect. I hadn’t checked all of my daily goals. But I am reminded that Allah loves small, but continuous good deeds.
The biggest killer to our success is our need to reach perfection as if that will ever be our destination in this world.
We keep wanting to reach our goals without being patient enough with ourselves especially when we’ve shown up and continued doing the work. It is our impatience that stopped us from truly understand the manifestation of our actions. We keep focusing on our mistakes and our brains would exaggerate everything, making it worse. It is also our need to constantly be strong when it’s okay to be vulnerable and just be human sometimes.
Allah rewards us not for our results, but our pursuit and our efforts, that when we struggle, he’d increase the reward merely for that struggle.
Ramadhan… it is shifting our mindset from internalising “How many good deeds and goals should I check off from my list?” to “Who do I want to be by the end of this Ramadhan?” that should motivate us to check off our goals from the list. It could be that our pursuit to try our best—excellence—that would help us to be closer to Him. Even in our expression of love towards Him should be in the form of ihsan (excellent).
“You should not just love Allah. You should be in love with Allah”
– Sheikh Omar Suleiman, “Allah Loves…” Series Ep 3: Allah Loves Excellence
It is the realisation that some of us are not feeling Ramadhan yet, that we should take it as a sign that perhaps there are some, subtle habits that we have not removed from our daily lives that are distancing ourselves away from Him, even in a matter of an inch.
It could be that the habits that used to not matter to the state of our hearts become so significant now because of how self-aware you are about what doesn’t benefit you.
As we are continuously growing, mentally and spiritually… it is normal to lose the sweetness when we first started turning back to Him. It is normal to seek for the novelty or a renewed feeling like when first started. Then we should attain the sweetness by adding our ibadah intentionally.
Focus on how far you’ve come rather than what could have been.
Focus on how more self-aware you are about your habits and state of your heart, rather than how you’ve wasted your time to mindless and useless habits.
All these realisations could be a sign of love from Allah. A call towards Him. A call to return to Him, not passively, but with full conviction that He only gives the best to us for our long-term gain. Not everyone is aware enough of His signs so you should, whoever you are reading this, if you are struggling should take your hardship and pain as a means to cleanse your hearts by returning back to Him.
But now, focus on how you still have the opportunity to get back up, return to Him rather than focusing on the lost times when you hadn’t spent enough time with Him.
Hence the du’a to seek from Him “Oh controller of hearts, make my heart firm on your religion”
May Allah give us the serenity, the peace that we’ve been searching for during this month of Ramadhan. May Allah heal our hearts whatever we may have gone through before, for He is Ash-Shafi’ (the One who cures).
I wrote this as a sequel "Why am I not 'feeling' Ramadan?" to an article 2 years ago to remind myself of own journey of how far I've come.